Matthew 5:33

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Matthew 5:33 is the thirty-third verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse is the opening of the fourth antithesis, beginning the discussion of oaths.

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by
them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself,
but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

"Again you have heard that it was said to them
of old time, 'You shall not make false vows,
but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'

For a collection of other versions see BibRef Matthew 5:33

This verse moves the discussion from divorce to oaths. Gundry feels this was done by the author of Matthew as the discussion of oaths at Deuteronomy 23:22-24 comes just prior to the discussion of divorce beginning at Deuteronomy 24:1. Other scholars feel that the discussion of oaths naturally follows the discussion of divorce as one of the major legal issues of the day was over marriage vows.[1]

Gundry notes that the introductory phrases of the antithesis has slowly been shrinking, in this verse it reverts to the full length of Matthew 5:21, renewed by the addition of the opening again.[2] Unlike the previous antitheses this verse does not contain a direct quotation form the Old Testament, but similar sentiments are expressed in a number of places in the scripture and Hill reports that Mosaic law forbade "false and irreverent oaths."[3] The first half of the quote seems to come from Leviticus 19:12 and the second half from Psalm 50 verse 14 with a mix of LXX wording and seemingly original translation. However, Psalm 50:14 is on vows, not oaths, and Matthew changes the word vow to oath. Jewish scholars made a distinction between the two concepts, but scholars argue this distinction was unclear and Numbers 30:12 seems to present them as essentially the same. Matthew's conflation of the two ideas is thus possible. Schweizer feels that the wording implies that Jesus is only discussing oaths associated with vows, and that he never speaks against the oaths of innocence or truthfulness that were not linked with vows.[4]

The Greek term translated as "make false vows" in the WEB in Greek is epiorkeo. This literally means "commit perjury," but it can also mean "break an oath," which Hill feels is a much more reasonable translation.[5] Albright and Mann translate it as the much less restrictive "do not make vows rashly."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982.
  2. ^ Gundry, Robert H. Matthew a Commentary on his Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982.
  3. ^ Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
  4. ^ Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
  5. ^ Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
  6. ^ Albright, W.F. and C.S. Mann. "Matthew." The Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1971.


Preceded by
Matthew 5:32
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 5
Succeeded by
Matthew 5:34